Cockle fishing in Pays de Saint Gilles Croix de Vie

As the tide goes down, families walk along the foreshore looking for shellfish. There’s nothing like finding your own lunch in the sand and taking it home with you!

After checking the tide tables, the kids decide Wednesday is the best day. When the moon is full they’ll be able to walk for miles along the sand flats.

Yesterday we visited Sauzaie Beach, which used to be where the shrimp fishermen lived which has a vast foreshore for cockle fishing - you'll find plenty of burrowing clams and cockles if you look for small air holes in the wet sand. On the rocky parts you're more likely to find mussels, winkles and crabs.


Go cockling to relax, but don’t forget to take a bucket and a net with you – and don’t put small fish or shrimps in with the crabs.

A clever fisherman will also take a clam knife, an oyster knife and a scraper to scrape bivalves off the rocks. Cockling is fun, but you need common sense too. Obey the basic rules so that we can all go on fishing for a long time.

Be sensible: put the stones back after you’ve looked for crabs and shrimps underneath.

There are white marks on the stones that have not been put back in place. Be careful – it takes four years for shellfish to come back to a stone!

Don’t take more than you can eat at the next meal – think of the environment and the people coming after you.

Seafood is hard to keep, especially in the heat. And don’t forget that what you take cannot be sold. This must remain a sport and a hobby for what the French call ‘bassiers’ - amateurs of shell fish catching all year round.